The incredible story of the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under Soviet rule, became symbols of Lithuania's independence movement, and - with help from the Grateful Dead - triumphed at the Barcelona Olympics.
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During his senior year in high school, basketball star Sebastian Telfair wrestles with the idea of taking his Coney Island team to the championship, decide whether to attend college or go pro, secure an endorsement deal, and get his family out of the projects. Written by
This is a good movie, because it is a documentary, and documentaries by nature start on such a higher playing field. As a documentary, it is somewhat below average. There are gaping holes and topics that are completely ignored that are integral to the subject matter. For one thing, there was not a single speaking agent or pro scout/rep in the movie. It is basically a summary of the games he played as a senior, a post season all-star game, the announcement of his shoe deal, one cover shoot, and coverage from the draft. That said, the content of the film is excellent... it is just not complete. I found Telfair's two older brothers to be radiant characters... the kind of stuff you'd never see in scripted material. Telfair's high school coach (not in as many scenes) was another highlight. Another odd thing about the movie is that it is clearly avoiding what is common knowledge to almost anyone who actually watched this. Telfair is struggling. He is arguably the 2nd/3rd PG on the worst team in the Western Conference... losing minutes to Jarret Jack (a late first round rookie) and Steve Blake (a backup on any other team). Lebron James was the first, and thus far only, elite performing star straight out of high school. This movie was clearly made in the wake of Lebron James in an effort to capture Lebron II. So instead of looking at the hype from the outside as a documentary, this movie itself is part of the hype. This is made clear based on the futile efforts to skirt Telfair's pro career. For one thing, this movie was released almost two years after its final event, the 2004 draft. Not all that suspicious, except that there was no text at the end of the movie, updating us with information on his pro career. Put those two together and it appears that ESPN tried to wait for him to be successful before airing the movie. Which gets us to what reeks about this movie. Telfair and his brothers seem intelligent and honorable, and they are being exploited in an effort to make money. This common nowadays with reality TV, but Telfair's career is at stake here. Dollar-crazed industries scrambled for the next Lebron, knowing and banking on the fact that plenty of money could be made before one of these guys even made it to the pros. This juicy topic is not addressed in the movie... as I said before, the packaging of this movie is just another example. The result is fans hating on Telfair and calling him a bust, which he is not. He isn't Todd Van Popple or Brian Bosworth... there was almost zero assurance for all the Telfair hype, again not his fault. That this movie was aired instead of the World Baseball Classic is another strike against the sickeningly self-indulgent ESPN. ESPN doesn't seem to realize that people like it and watch it because it is a window to sports, and not because of its slapdash, substandard original programing or haughty, moronic personalities.
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